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Senator's Tone-Deaf Remarks On 'Young Brown Men' Driving His Uber And Delivering His Pizza Cause Backlash

Even when you have the best intentions, the words you choose to make a point still matter quite a bit. In Australia, liberal Senator David Leyonhjelm was trying to "promote the value of migration and multiculturalism" during a speech on the Senate floor. His repeated references to "young brown men," however, somewhat undercut his sentiment, and has resulted in backlash from his fellow lawmakers.


Leyonhjelm thanked immigrants for "turning up their sleeves" in jobs "many other Aussies would turn up their noses at, or would not turn up at all," saying:

"Let me say thank you to Australia's young brown men."



He continued:

"They drive me in their Ubers and taxis. They deliver my online purchases, my groceries and my pizza. And they serve me at my local 7-Eleven, at my local service station, and my local restaurants. Many of these young brown men have only been in Australia for a decade or so, and they are giving it go, just like previous generations of young migrants."


Right-wing senator praises migrants for 'delivering his pizzas' www.youtube.com


Leyonhjelm also argued that many of these immigrants are over-qualified for the jobs they hold, and that the "brown pay gap," continues to oppress minority groups though these workers continue on "without whinging." He brought home the point by saying:

"Australia may be squandering the talent pool of its young brown men and women."


The Green party's Mehreen Faruqi ("who migrated to Australia from Pakistan in 1992"), said that she she "would like to give Senator Leyonhjelm the benefit of the doubt in being sincere about his concern about migrants but condescending speeches don't help." Faruqi told SBS:

"Migrants aren't sitting here plugging away passively waiting for the world to change, we are actively challenging racism and demanding our rights."


Tim Lo Surdo, a spokesman for Democracy in Colour, an anti-racism advocacy group, also thought Leyonhjelm's comments were ultimately misguided:

"A third of Australia's temporary migrant workers are paid less than half the minimum wage. It is a crisis. But those same workers, they are fighting back. To suggest that that work's not been happening, or that they need some sort of white saviour like Senator Leyonhjelm to swoop in and save the day, is not true. And it's very condescending, it's very patronising, and it makes invisible all of that work that is being done right now."


Leyonhjelm likely torpedoed any goodwill in the Senate after a recent incident where, during a Senate debate, he yelled out at a female Seantor "Stop shagging men, Sarah!" He would later refuse to withdraw the remarks, though he claimed he spoke the words aloud without shouting them.

Twitter put the Senator straight with more than a little bit of shade.









It seems Senator Leyonhjelm has learned a lesson about choosing his words carefully. Hopefully it sticks.

H/T - Newsweek, YouTube